Went to play CS at a college LAN function, decided to check out Starcraft for the first time. The assholes decided to rig a game and put me on the opposing team because they didn't like the other assholes they were playing. Not that they weren't already using a map hack. So I join the enemy team, what the hell, it would be a learning experience. Five seconds in one of the guys is telling us who's what and where, fucking cheaters are everywhere. Being a good sport I thwarted the rush, they lost anyway though, the one guy at the LAN was the #2 player at the time and had been #1 at points. Ok, so the cheating pricks rigging games at the LAN party became the not so prick pricks that were doing the same shit their opponents were. Never mind that everyone acted like a 12 year old with a ten second attention span. God forbid you don't play perfectly too.
Played Red Alert online, or tried to. Couldn't get a game started, no one would play a "noob". Of course, I was a long time player with fast fingers and probably would have plowed them all, but I hadn't created an account for Westwood online till that particular game had been out a couple years. So ended my thirst to play RA online, conceited assholes the lot of them.
Then comes RA2, with the most entertaining infantry. Shitty balance beyond compare, but I was amused by the units and wanted to anyway. I lasted about a week. One of the guys in the top fifty said I had potential to go all the way up the rankings, but I needed a map hack to make the playing field even. Yay... another one bites the dust.
Every time I check out the online community of an RTS, it gets worse. I can honestly say that my move to a satellite connection hasn't hurt that much. They only clean up after they die and almost no one is left playing.
The best experience I had was playing Warlords:Battlecry with a small group of absolutely nutty fans that had braved the severe netcode and balance problems to stick the game out all the way to the release of its sequel. They were fun to play, didn't mind playing with someone that sucked, and even better, didn't mind getting the shit kicked out of them by a new guy on his second game. Class acts almost entirely. Darn those fringe games released by smaller publishers.
My friends,(and I have very high standards even for real life relationships, you don't rate higher than acquaintance unless I really like you) on playing all the assholes that showed up for the second iteration published by ubisoft, left. I even got to find out that the best player from the previous was cheating to maintain his image. My best experience of an online community, by leaps and bounds, consisted of less than a dozen regulars, one of whom cheated to win.
To be a cynic, your view must be unfounded. Bad experiences jilting your views of people you meet later on. I've not seen any change in the pattern since I started playing. If anything, it's gotten worse with the rise of gaming in Asia. RTS is fairly tame too, if you really want to be hacked you need to play FPS or dungeon crawlers like Diablo. The entire team dying five seconds into a round really rocked in cs. I quit bothering with the general populations not because I'm a cynic, although that's probably true as well, but because I'm not a complete fucking retard. Online gaming with the masses is decidedly un-fun.
This isn't a life and death struggle, it's a game. It's supposed to be entertainment, not a cheat to win, scour the new guys, cut throat industry. If the community for Sins were a nice, fun to play community, every other post on the forums wouldn't be about balance. I'd show up if the posts were a little less complaint riddled and a little more fun involved.